9698 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton
A couple weeks ago I went to Hardware Grill for the first time. Their dress code is listed as smart-casual, but I opted to wear a tie since it was a special occasion. It’s located at the East end of Jasper Avenue, right by the Shaw Conference Centre. It can get a bit busy on weekends, so I always suggest making reservations.
When you first walk in, there’s a beautiful lobby. There’s a guestbook if you so choose to sign your name. They have really nice semi-circle booths that are designed for two people for a really cozy and intimate evening. The kitchen is visible in plain view if you’re in one of the booths. Our server was great from the beginning until the end, and was very friendly and knowledgeable about the dishes. We decided to share the Assorted Charcuterie to start, and we got the Glazed Duck Steak, and Alberta Lamb Rack.
The first thing that came out was some complimentary assorted bread, served with olive oil. I’ve read from past reviews that this usually comes with some sea salt, which this definitely could have used. It was incredibly bland. This was a disappointing way to start the evening. There was some sour dough and a white bread. The bread was pretty fresh, but I wish the olive oil was infused with some flavour. We actually ended asking for some balsamic vinegar to finish the bread.
The Assorted Charcuterie was probably one of my favourite things. It comes with wild boar pate, chimney sticks, prosciutto, red wine salami, truffle salami, oka cheese, and some house-made pickles, onions, carrots, and beets. Everything was very good. The wild boar pate went really well with our complimentary bread. To be honest, I have yet to find a plate of meat/cheese as good as the ones I had at Bar Bricco. This was still very good though.
The Lamb rack came out beautifully roasted. It’s served with a white bean ragout and eggplant caponata. The lamb was very tender, and went really well with the white bean ragout. It gave it a really nice balance. The texture of it was really familiar with mashed potatoes. It was really rich and creamy. The eggplant Caponata was okay. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, and I didn’t find that the flavours of it went well together with everything else, but alone it was alright. Overall, it was a relatively good dish, but I kind of expected a little bit more.
My entrée was the Glazed Duck Steak. I really liked the sides of my dish more than the duck steak itself. The taleggio cheese was very rich and creamy, and was very very good. The sausage was okay, but I couldn’t really taste the duck in the sausage. As for the duck breast, I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I usually really like duck, and whenever it’s on the menu, that’s one of the options that I always get. The texture and taste was just a little bit off. The server warned me that it’d come out medium, as how the chef intends, but mine came out overcooked and a little bit dry. I’ve read such good reviews on the duck breast, and a few negative ones that kind of reminds me of the feeling I got when I ate it.
Overall, my experience at Hardware Grill was just average. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed. I really don’t mind paying more for a really good meal. The service and ambiance of everything was really good, but I was just a bit disappointed with the food. It still was one of the best service that I’ve ever received at the restaurant, and everyone was really friendly. I really like the interior and the booth that we sat in. For the price, however, I think I’d rather go somewhere else, like Bar Bricco, Corso 32, or another fine dining restaurant. Give this place a try for yourself though!